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Health Highlights: Sept. 19, 2006

1st Penis Transplant Reversed After 14 Days Hundreds in Oklahoma May Have Been Exposed to TB Typical HS Gym Workout Averages Just 16 Minutes ADHD Cases Linked to Smoke Exposure, Lead FDA Approves Fast Test for Lead Poisoning

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

1st Penis Transplant Reversed After 14 Days

Doctors in China said Tuesday that they had successfully transplanted a penis on a man who had lost his own in an accident, but were forced to remove it only two weeks later because of psychological problems experienced by the man and his wife.

Surgeons at Guangzhou General Hospital in southern Guangdong Province performed the transplant in September 2005, a hospital spokesperson said. The penis came from a 22-year-old brain-dead man whose parents had agreed to donate the organ. But the report did not explain how the 44-year-old man lost his own penis, saying only that "an unfortunate traumatic accident" left him with a small stump, unable to urinate or have sex normally, the Associated Press reported.

Fourteen days after the penis transplant, the recipient and his wife asked that the organ be removed "because of the wife's psychological rejection as well as the swollen shape of the transplanted penis," the surgeons reported in the journal European Urology, published by the European Association of Urology.

The doctors said lab examinations showed no sign of rejection. The procedure was believed to the first such transplant reported in a medical journal, according to the AP.


Hundreds in Oklahoma May Have Been Exposed to TB

Ten people tested positive for tuberculosis at an Oklahoma medical center and more than 2,000 other patients, workers and members of the public may have been exposed by a sick health-care worker, public health officials said Monday.

A letter sent to about 1,650 patients and 350 workers at Integris Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City warned of their potential exposure and urged them to get skin tests for the disease, said Dr. Gene Claflin, medical director of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department. About 250 members of the public have also been alerted, the Associated Press reported.

So far, an estimated 600 people have been tested, including all of the hospital's employees. More people are expected to test positive as the examinations continue. The exposure reportedly began with an unidentified female health-care worker at the facility who was found to have the disease Aug. 14 but reported experiencing symptoms six months earlier, the AP reported.

The disease is spread when an infected person coughs, shouts or sneezes and spreads germs in the air that are inhaled by others. TB primarily affects the lungs, and symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, low-grade fever, chills and possible weight loss.

Health officials said there were 144 confirmed cases of TB in the state last year, while in 2003, 28 percent of all TB cases in the state occurred in Oklahoma County, where the latest outbreak occurred, the AP reported.


Typical HS Gym Workout Averages Just 16 Minutes

U.S. kids aren't exactly go-getters in gym classes, averaging just 16 minutes of half-hearted exercise that might include a few jumping jacks or a lazy game of softball, according to a Cornell University study released Tuesday.

The study was based on annual surveys of 37,000 high schoolers by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Associated Press. The data come from the annual youth behavior surveys from 1999, 2001 and 2003, which include questions about students' exercise habits.

The Cornell report also found that adding an additional 200 minutes of physical education a week -- long urged by several groups concerned about the growing obesity epidemic in America -- resulted in boys spending only about 7 1/2 more minutes being active in gym class. For girls, an additional 200 minutes of PE resulted in about eight more minutes of being active in gym each week. The rest of the extra gym time was likely spent being sedentary -- standing around idly while playing sports like softball or volleyball that don't require constant movement, according to the study.


ADHD Cases Linked to Smoke Exposure, Lead

Childhood exposure to lead and smoking during pregnancy may be responsible for one-third of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder cases in the United States, researchers reported Monday.

The study, headed by researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, was the first to estimate the number of ADHD cases attributable to environmental toxins. The study was published online Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, according to an Associated Press report.

The findings build on previous research linking toxic chemicals and other environmental factors to attention problems and developmental and neurological disorders in about 3 percent of all U.S. children.

The researchers analyzed data on almost 4,000 U.S. children ages 4 to 15 who were part of a 1999-2002 government health survey. Included were 135 children treated for ADHD. Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were 2.5 times more likely to have ADHD than children who weren't prenatally exposed to tobacco, and children with blood lead levels of more than 2 micrograms per deciliter were four times more likely to have ADHD than children with levels below 0.8 microgram per deciliter.

The government's "acceptable" blood lead level is 10 micrograms per deciliter, and an estimated 310,000 U.S. children ages 1 to 5 have levels exceeding that, the AP reported.


FDA Approves Fast Test for Lead Poisoning

A new machine that can test children and adults for lead poisoning in minutes was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday, but funding problems may slow its distribution.

Acting FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach said that the testing device -- about the size of a laptop computer -- could be used in as many as 115,000 locations nationwide, including health clinics, schools, mobile labs and workplaces.

"Before today, [testing] was only available in certain settings, like hospitals," he said, adding that devices eliminate the need to send a blood sample to a lab and wait several days for results.

The government has set a goal of eradicating childhood lead poisoning by 2010, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday, but it has not offered financial aid to speed adoption of the technology. The new machines costs about $2,200 each and are considered key to combating the problem because they enables medical personnel to offer immediate guidance to parents on how to help their children.

Lead poisoning is most commonly caused by children's ingestion of dust or other residue from lead-based paints. Lead paint was banned for residential use in 1978, but about 40 precent of the nation's housing still contains some. Medicaid pays for lead tests for low-income families, and federal guidelines call for testing all Medicaid recipients at ages 1 and 2, the Times reported, but fewer than 25 percent of such children are actually tested.

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